The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 13, 2014

Quest to learn new language leads to pro caddy career

HONOLULU — Simon Clark headed off to Japan to learn the language and enhance his college studies of World War II. He was excited about making his first visit to Pearl Harbor this week when he was able to take a break from his job as the caddie for Ryo Ishikawa.

It’s safe to say the last two decades turned out differently from he could have imagined.

“I’ve been very lucky,” Clark said.

The 44-year-old Australian is proficient as an author, just not what you might think. While he has written a 10,000-word essay on why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Clark is more famous on the Japan Golf Tour for making the yardage books for players and caddies the last 20 years.

He started caddying without any experience and now works for the 22-year-old Ishikawa, who still gets more attention in Japan than any other golfer.

And he still hasn’t finished college.

“I still have to do a final review,” Clark said. “Look, there’s not much I can do with that unless I teach. There’s no real career in World War II studies. I tried to join the Air Force but I could never fly jets because I had my knees operated on and they said I couldn’t stand the ejections if we had to eject.”

Even so, this has been a wild ride.

It began when Clark wanted to learn a second language and saw an ad in the paper about Japanese country clubs wanting caddies.

“They actually wanted girls, so my wife (Melanie) and I went over,” he said. “We worked for six months as house caddies, and I studied Japanese pretty hard. They had this tournament down the road, the Tokai Classic, that Mark O’Meara won. I caddied for a guy named Wayne Smith. And I loved it straightaway.”

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